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Creative Arts & Placemaking

Creative Arts & Placemaking is an innovation-sector that is often overlooked. Broadly defined, this refers to the participation in a range of activities that allow for creative and imaginative expression, such as music and art. Importantly, innovations in creative art can be a catalyst for both economic and social development (Tremblay and Pilati 2013). For example, recently many cities have designated cultural or art districts which are meant to facilitate not only place-making identities, but encourage economic development surrounding the arts as well. 

The first creative art in the Inland Empire was expressed by indigenous tribes and communities. Paintings and other pieces of art were used to tell stories, express creativity, and to reinforce cultural values and norms. This early art can be viewed at venues like the Ontario Museum of History and Art and the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum in Palm Springs. In 1932, the San Bernardino Art Association was founded as a non-profit arts organization serving the multicultural art community of the Inland Empire. Art associations and other groups around this time were an innovative way to pool resources and catalog and support local artists. 

The arts and cultural activity play an elemental role in defining community life. These place-making activities not only enhance human development, but also can help shape the social, physical, cultural and economic identity of a community, spurring economic development, and creating stronger social cohesion and community revitalization. Through this creative place-making, a community can revitalize and reinvest in marginalized communities.

Recent Sector Highlights

Tre’dish is a Home-to-Home FoodTech platform that helps chefs build their own business out of their home kitchens. Tre’dish connects chefs with customers in their local community and helps to foster relationships over sharing culture through food. Tre’dish officially launched their platform on November 17th, 2021 in Riverside. The company selected Riverside as a home base given the progressive MEHKO regulation that was passed allowing commercialization of home restaurateurs.

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UC Riverside ecologists are leading a $1 million plant protection project that will help Southern California’s tribal nations adapt to climate change. Canyon live oak Oak trees and acorns hold special significance for Southern California tribal nations. The goal of the project is to preserve plant species and ecosystems that enable the continuation of native tribal cultural practices. Currently, some of these species are facing threats including hotter temperatures, prolonged drought and increasing urbanization. The Resilient Restoration project will include public education and outreach components to share science and solutions with managers, leaders, elders, youth and community members across the region.

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The Cheech, is an art museum and academic center under development in Riverside, with a planned grand opening in June 2022. The center will focus on the presentation and study of chicano art from all across the United States. It is a collaborative effort between stand-up comedian, actor, and writer Cheech Marin, who has donated his collection of more than 700 pieces of Chicano art, the City of Riverside, which provides the facilities to house the collection, and the Riverside Art Museum, which manages the center. It will be the first North American facility dedicated to Mexican-American art. 

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